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The Collaborative International Dictionary

cedilla \ce*dil"la\ (s[-e]*d[i^]l"l[.a]), n. [Sp. cedilla, cf. F. c['e]dille; dim. of zeta, the Gr. name of the letter z, because this letter was formerly written after the c, to give it the sound of s.] A mark placed under the letter c [thus, [,c]], to show that it is to be sounded like s, as in fa[,c]ade.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1600, from Spanish cedilla, zedilla, literally "little z," from a Latin-like diminutive of Greek zeta "the letter 'z'." The mark (formerly also used in Spanish) was derived from that letter and indicates a "soft" sound in letters in positions where normally they have a "hard" sound. See zed.


n. (context orthography English) In the spelling of Catalan, French, Portuguese and some other languages, a mark sometimes placed under the letter (term: c) to indicate that it is pronounced /s/ rather than /k/, as in French ''menaçant'' and Portuguese ''almoço'', and also used in various other languages to change the sounds of other letters.


n. a diacritical mark (,) placed below the letter c to indicate that it is pronounced as an s


A cedilla ( ; from Spanish), also known as cedilha (from Portuguese) or cédille (from French), is a hook or tail ( ¸ ) added under certain letters as a diacritical mark to modify their pronunciation. In Catalan, French, and Portuguese, it is used only under the c, and the entire letter is called respectively c trencada (i.e. "broken C"), "c cédille", and "c cedilhado" (or "c cedilha", colloquially).

Usage examples of "cedilla".

Italics and diacritical marks such as accents and cedillas are omitted and unmarked.